Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

The Circus In The West - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

All through the little prairie town
'Mid dusty levels broad and brown
I saw the Circus pacing on;
I felt its vague barbaric spell,
I smelt the queer old circus smell
As old Rome or Babylon.

The tinsel gleamed, the big drum rolled,
The ponies pranced and caracoled
In gaudy gilt caparison;
And still beneath it was the strange
Sad undertone of Time and Change, -
As erst in vanished Babylon.

I saw where, wrinkled, grey and wise,
With swaying gait and brooding eyes,
The elephants went pacing on,
Unmoved amid the gaping throng,
As if they only thought: 'How long -
How far from here to Babylon?'

No longer than this restless hour,
Its lust and folly, pride and power,
To-day as in the ages gone:
No further than this feverish, queer,
New town which was not yesteryear
Need mankind seek for Babylon.

New towns in strange new lands arise;
But old as earth and stars and skies
The Circus of the world goes on;
Still traveling on its ancient round
Where'er man's dust of dreams is found -
Here - now - to-day - in Babylon.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010



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